Category Archives: Laughing Through Life

Andrew Henderson, Managing Editor – Andy, a graduate of Salisbury University in Maryland, has been the managing editor of The Valley News for 12 years. He has covered city and town government, crime, and education. He also pretends to be a humor columnist. In his spare time, Andy can be found rooting for his beloved St. Louis Cardinals.

Laughing Through Life: September 26, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

I am not big into the going-to-the-movies scene.

Let me see…the last movie I saw in the theaters was the second “Sherlock Holmes” flick, which came out almost two years ago.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I plopped down 40 bucks for tickets, popcorn, and soda — and that is a good thing, I guess, as far as my wallet goes.

But that might change very soon.

I just watched the trailer to “42,” a new movie about the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in the show.

Okay, I acknowledge that I’m a sucker for baseball movies — even the crappy ones like “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Stretch,” “The Sandlot 2,” and “The Sandlot 3.”

“42” looks like an awesome flick. How could it not? Harrison Ford is playing the brilliant Branch Rickey!

Yep, as I said, I can’t wait for this one to come out. I might have to ask for movie gift cards for Christmas!

Anyway, the “42” trailer — as well as the “Trouble With a Curve” movie now playing in theaters — ignited a spark in my brain. I started thinking about baseball movies and their impact on society.

In my humble opinion, a couple of baseball movies transcend the sport. Everyone loves “The Sandlot.” If you don’t like “The Sandlot” then you might want to move to Canada.

“The Sandlot” is probably the most quoted baseball movie. For example, both baseball fans and non-baseball fans probably know this exchange from the movie:

Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?

Smalls: Some more of what?

Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s’more?

Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?

Ham Porter: You’re killing me Smalls!

I have created a list, in no particular order, of my top favorite baseball movies of all time. For the first time in time and space, I will present them here with a bit of commentary on each of them. Here we go…

• “The Bad News Bears” — I am referring to the original one here, not the most recent one with Billie Bob Thornton. The original was made in 1976, the year that I was born. That makes it a great movie in itself.

“The Bad News Bears” is about a team of Little League misfits coached by the aging Morris Buttermaker, an ex-minor league player. The reason why this movie rocks? Ogilvie, Tanner, and Engelberg. There are three of the greatest characters ever in the a baseball movie. Ever.

• “The Sandlot” — I’ve already noted how this movie transcends the sport. See four paragraphs up. Everyone, both old and young, man and female, has probably watched this flick, which came out in 1993.

This is a movie based on Scotty Smalls and his invitation to play on the local sandlot team with Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter, Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous, Alan ‘Yeah-Yeah’ McClennan, and the others.  Oh, yeah, don’t forget “The Beast.”

This movie might forever be the top three of all-time. For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver!

• “The Pride of the Yankees” — This movie is about the life of Lou Gehrig, one of the greatest New York Yankees ever. Gary Cooper plays Gehrig, also known as “Twinkle Toes.”

One of the most touching moments of the movie is when the doctor informs Gehrig that he has to quit baseball and might not live that long because of ALS, a nerve disease that now bears his name.

Gehrig then informs his doctor not to tell his wife. His wife eventually finds out through a friend/newspaper man. I cry like a baby every time I watch this scene. Pass the tissues, please!

 To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
AndrewHenderson

Laughing Through Life: September 19, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

As I write this column, my back is still killing me.

I know what you are thinking and no, I did not play any type of sport — nor did I sleep in an awkward position in my super-duper comfy Tempur-Pedic bed.

The reason why my back hurts? My wife is a harpist.

She likes to harp, I mean, play the harp. And she is good at it, too, which means that she is asked to play at special functions, including weddings. This was the case during a recent weekend.

So, my job as the husband of the harpist to get the harp to and from the wedding. It’s no easy task…

First of all, let me introduce you to Petunia, the harp (yep, my wife named it). She is not one of those small hand-held harps you see in the cartoons when one of the characters dies and floats off to heaven, strumming an old hymn from the 1700s.

Nope, Petunia is large. She is a big ole’ pedal harp, which can also be defined in the musical circles as a concert harp — but don’t confuse it with a lever harp or a Celtic harp.

Yep, I’ve become an expert in all things harp. I think I need to watch some sports right about now…just to get an ounce of my “manly”-ness back.

A pedal harp typically has six and a half octaves (46 or 47 strings), weighs about 80 pounds, is approximately 6-feet high, has a depth of four feet, and is 21.5 inches wide at the bass end of the soundboard.

Eighty pounds, you say? That’s not bad, you proclaim? Well, there is also a harp “case,” which looks like a coffin big enough for a small person. It also weighs like one.

Petunia’s cage, ah I mean, case weighs just over 200 pounds by itself. The case is taller than me and is about twice as wide than me.

Luckily, it has wheels, but unfortunately the wheels are not the same distance from front to back. The wheels in front are just under 20-inches apart while the wheels in the back are roughly 30-inches apart.

So, in my Tim the Toolman Taylor mind, I tried coming up with a ramp design to allow the harp to be transported down a flight of stairs. That is the tricky part. It’s not too hard getting the Petunia off an on my truck. It’s those stairs. Those bloody stairs!

The thought of me being run over by a runaway harp in a coffin scared me, so I went the old fashioned route. I decided to carry it — with the help of two others — down the stairs on its way to the truck.

Then the proverbial light bulb illuminated over my head. Why don’t we just carry the case down the stairs first without Petunia and then carry Petunia second. Once we reached the bottom of the stairs, we could then strap Petunia into her case.

It’s easier to carry an 80-pound harp down the stairs than to carry a nearly 300-pound harp/case. I’m brilliant!

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
AndrewHenderson

Laughing Through Life: August 29, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

Stop me, if you heard this one before:

A young college co-ed came running in tears to her father. “Dad, you gave me some terrible financial advice!”

“I did? What did I tell you?” the dad said.

“You told me to put my money in that big bank and now that big bank is in trouble.”

“What are you talking about? That’s one of the largest banks in the state,” he said. “There must be some mistake.”

“I don’t think so,” she sniffed. “They just returned one of my checks with a note saying, ‘Insufficient Funds’.”

I read this joke recently on the Internet and I immediately thought about our local, state, and federal governments and their heroin-like addiction to spending money and what will happen if it continues.

My money. Your money. Your Uncle Bob’s money. They like to spend it — even when there are “insufficient funds.”

The dictionary defines addiction as a means “to devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively; behavior that impairs the performance of a vital function, a harmful development.”

According to one report, addiction causes you to lose your sense of balance and rationality.

Officials also say that beneath all addictions is a longing for immediate gratification — to feel good, powerful, worthy of admiration and problem-free — and an insistence on ignoring the long-range, self-destructive implications of the behavior.

Sound like a politician? It sure does to me.

This summer is almost over and my wife will be going back to teach at an area high school after having most of the summer off.

And with that, we recently sat down and went over our budget for the rest of the year.

My wife and I are of the Dave Ramsey mind-set when it comes to finances. In other words, we are cheap.

No, just kidding. Every dollar that we make each month is accounted for. Every dollar from my salary and her salary. Every nickel, every dime, and every cent.

It all goes into budget lines, such as grocery, mortgage, gasoline, tithes, gifts, insurance, entertainment, debt or retirement, and, of course, my favorite: the blow money line.

In essence, everything that we earn is earmarked for something. For example, after all the bills have been paid and after all the food is bought, whatever is left over goes toward the debt (if we have any), retirement, the college fund, or what I like to call “Andy’s Secret Vacation Trip To St. Louis To Watch The Cardinals” line. Shhh, my wife does not know of that line!

We do this because both my wife and I enjoy spending money. We really do. Who doesn’t? Probably one of the hardest things to do in this world is not to spend money.

If I give you $20, will you not spend it? Will you just keep it in your wallet or purse? I can guarantee you that if you give me a $20 bill that sucker will be spent faster than you can say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

AndrewHenderson

Laughing Through Life: August 22, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

Roughly two weeks ago, I left for a one-week vacation in Louisville, Kentucky.

Well, in truth, it was not what you would call a real vacation…I led a group of 11, including seven teenagers, to a national youth convention and Fine Arts Festival hosted by the Assemblies of God.

Overall, nearly 13,000 teen traveled from all corners of this great nation to downtown Louisville.

We left late Sunday night/early Monday morning. We traveled by a charter bus. It took 12 hours. I still have nightmares from that bus trip…

Anyway, we arrived in the bluegrass state around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. I must say that I really enjoyed my stay in Louisville. It is a pretty cool city.

Our hotel was one block away from the convention center and a few blocks from the KFC Yum! Center, which is where our nightly youth services took place.

The KFC Yum! Center is better known as the basketball arena for the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team.

When the Syracuse Orange visit the Cardinals this upcoming college basketball season, I can honestly say, “Yep. I’ve been there.”

Outside of the nightly services and Fine Arts Festival, the highlights of the trip were, in no particular order, the restaurants (ie. food), the Louisville Zoo, a section of the city called Fourth Street Live!, and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

Before I go on one of these youth group trips — and I have been on several including Denver, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C.  — I have to be like the biblical character of Joshua and scout out the land. In my case, I’m not scouting the people. I’m scouting eating spots.

Here is a summary of the fine establishments that I visited: Doc Crow’s, Bluegrass Brewing Company, Hard Rock Cafe, Los Aztecas Mexican Restaurant, and a couple of mom-and-pop deli shops.

Doc Crow’s, which was billed as a southern smokehouse and oyster bar, was excellent! We actually ate there twice, which is usually a Henderson no-no. You never eat at the same restaurant twice while on vacation.

We made an exception, however, because of Doc Crow’s “Heap-n Chips,” which are kettle chips topped with pulled pork, cheese, salsa, jalapenos, barbecue sauce, and other hidden gems. They should have named the arena Doc Crow’s Yum! Center!

Also, my wife is planning to recreate the “Heap-n Chips” at home. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

As a group, we also went to the Louisville Zoo, which is a pretty cool zoo complete with a 4-D movie theater. In addition, they had an moving dinosaur exhibit that was originally supposed to end several weeks ago but was extended until the end of August.

The 4-D movie theater was pretty neat. We had our choice of Dora & Diego’s 4-D Adventure or Planet Earth: Ice Worlds. Of course, being with a group of teens, the chose Dora the Expolorer.

You already know about 3-D; well, 4-D is pretty much the same thing, but with a few surprises. For example, at one point, Dora and her rainforest friends were on a boat and waves were splashing into the boat. In 4-D, you can see the waves into the boat and you can actually feel them as water is squirted on you.

At one point, one of Dora’s friends was eating a banana and you could actually smell a banana. Later on during the movie, I could have sworn that Dora was, um, passing gas — that is until I realized that I was sitting next to a mother who was holding a baby. Doh!

Later on that night, my wife and I headed to Fourth Street Live — an area of downtown Louisville filled with restaurants, bars, and the such. Apparently, it’s the place to be in Louisville on a Friday night.

We were meeting my wife’s sister’s husband’s cousin and her husband from Cincinnati, who made the 90-mile drive to visit with us. We met up just after an outdoor concert was ending.

We stood around talking when we realized that one of the band members was right next to us. For the next 15 minutes, we watched as young females flocked to him and had their picture taken with him.

At one point, a 13-year-old teen who could not contain his excitement ran up to him and began fawning over him. It was like he was a member of the Beatles or something. I thought he was going to pass out from excitement.

I don’t think I ever saw someone fawning over someone else in my life. That was some seriously extreme fawning. Extreme fawning — they should make a reality show about that.

As we watched this happening, we were joking that we had no idea who this person was or what band he was in.

 To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397
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Laughing Through Life: August 1, 2012

Andrew Henderson

As I write this, I am once again living the bachelor’s life.

I have Sportscenter on the TV, Cardinals game on the laptop, leftover garlic pizza in the fridge, and I might not be wearing any pants.

Do I have your attention now?

Okay, it’s not what you think. I might not be not not wearing any pants. But if I were to be not not wearing any pants — after I already said that I was not wearing them —  would I still be pantless?

I don’t know. Who’s on first?

Just for the record, I’m still married. My wife is spending this week as a camp counselor for a Christian youth camp near Rome.

So, for the first time in just over two years, I have six days to myself.

So, as I write this on Sunday, I am planning my week — you know, the things that I can do that I normally wouldn’t, or couldn’t, do.

Let’s see, I still have to work this week, so that means that I can’t stay up late every night and watch “manly” movies: “Transformers,” “Rambo,” “Star Wars,” “G.I. Joe,” “A-Team,” and the like.

Actually, my wife is pretty good at letting me watch action movies. It’s sort of like a trade-off. She will allow me to watch “X-Men” and “Thor” if I will watch “The Notebook” and “Bridget Jones Diary.”

I draw the line at “Anne of Green Gables,” however. Oh yeah, and “Little House on the Prairie,” too. No one will ever get me to watch those. I would rather run myself into a wall before I watch them. I would rather watch read a textbook on actuarial science than watch those two flicks. Go ahead, Google actuarial science.

Still, I know I’m in trouble when my wife wants to watch a movie with me and she has a pallet of tissues nearby.

Maybe I can see if any of my buddies are available to hang out, possibly go the shooting range and pop some rounds off. Maybe, we can hit the links for 9 or 18 holes. Or, I can fix something around the house. Ha! Yeah, right! Scratch that one of the list.

I could go see a baseball game, wash my truck, or check off some of my “honey-do” list she left me. This list includes watering the plants, cleaning the storage room, dusting and vacuuming, washing any dishes I dirty (hello, paper plates!), and paying the bills.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397